Ask the ALA Library

Librarians in Government

The question came in with the subject line "Reference question that only ALA can answer" but it really is a question that only all of ALA, not just the ALA Librarian, can answer: Are there librarians who have been elected officials, or who have run for office?

Cleaning Up After Water Damage

Q. The recent severe weather has some of our library regulars asking about salvage of wet books.  What can I tell them?

A. I'm going to address your question from two perspectives.  First, what should an individual be doing, and second, what should a library be doing.

Newbery and Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speeches

Q. I wasn't able to be at the Newbery/Caldecott Banquet at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.  Will the speeches be published somewhere?

A. Yes, the Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal acceptance speeches are published annually in two periodicals; in the Summer/Fall issue of ALA's Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children and the June/July issue of (non-ALA) Horn Book Magazine

How to Label a Book

Q.  Does ALA have any guidelines or sample policies for labeling books for the shelves?

A. Although the American Library Association has established standards and guidelines for a range of library activities, none of these cover shelf preparation or physical processing of library materials.

Children’s Libraries

Updated July 31, 2012

Q. Are there stand-alone libraries serving children (other than those in schools, that is)?

A. A year ago we reported ten such libraries, but received additional information from our readers.  Here is our current list, with links checked and updated, as well. We now can report sixteen libraries,  ten affiliated with public libraries, one under construction, and five in other settings.

Public libraries with stand-alone libraries serving children:

Sample Policies

Q. Can you direct me to one or two sites with sample library policies. I've just taken over our small public library and have convinced trustees we need to have policies newer than 25 years ago!

A. Certainly--but some framework first.


Q. We're reviewing our policies on overdue fines and are looking for resources to guide our investigations. What's out there?

Loss Rate

“Area libraries increasing security to combat rising thefts” is the headline for the April 23, 2011, article posted by the Dayton Daily News. But the question that comes to the ALA Library is “what is a ‘typical’ loss rate?”

Recommended Viewing - Movies and DVDs

Q. I know ALA has reading lists in different age groups. But what about lists for other materials? Does ALA make a list of recommended movies or DVDs? And are there lists for different age groups?


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